Hasler apologises for unruly crowd behaviour
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has been forced to apologise for the behaviour of some unruly fans who were throwing projectiles at match officials after their dramatic 18-17 defeat to South Sydney on Friday evening.
A controversial 79th minute penalty against Bulldogs' skipper James Graham for dangerous contact on South Sydney's Adam Reynolds - during his field goal attempt - handed the Rabbitohs a shot at goal in front of the sticks, much to the anger of the Bulldogs fans.
"First of all, I just want to offer an apology on behalf of the club. I've been to see the referee official who was struck by a projectile. He's okay," Hasler opened with in his post-match press conference.
"That is not us. That is not what this club is about, and it's not what sport in this country is about. Unfortunately that behaviour of a few can kind of ruin it and spoil it for everybody."
Hasler warned the media against painting the unsavoury incident, before re-iterating his apology on behalf of the club.
"I know there is going to be comment, I know there will be a lot of social comment, but you people with the pen also need to be responsible for the way you write about it and the way you report it," he said.
"It is not about what this club is about. Again, on behalf of all the officials and players and everybody involved in the club, our sincerest apologies for what appeared and it won't happen again."
The contentious decision to hand South Sydney a set shot in front of goal incensed much of the Bulldogs side, including skipper James Graham who tried to challenge lead referee Gerard Sutton on the call.
"Obviously it's a huge game. And with it being close as it was, at the time I felt like a decision that went against us was wrong. But it is what it is," Graham explained.
"I guess when you're in that moment, and when you've invested so much energy into trying to get two points. Sometimes the emotion gets the better of you.
"I don't think we want to get in a position where we get footballers bombarding referees after every decision. But when it's so close to the end... From my point of view, I thought at the time, the decision was incorrect.
"It's probably not good behaviour from us in terms of crowding the referees. But again, when it's at the top level, when there's so much energy and time invested in the win, when it comes down to that last 90 seconds, it's hard to act like... politically correct maybe is the phrase."
Prop David Klemmer was sent to the sin bin for dissent after the call.
"David is a fabulous player. He's going to be around for such a long time. He's got such a tremendous career in front of him," Hasler defended.
"I think James explained it pretty well there. [Klemmer is] young, and probably a lot of frustration got a little bit the better of him. He'll learn from that, so don't crucify him. He'll learn from that. He'll move on. It's Round 5, we play St George next Sunday."